Wednesday, 27 June 2001

The Great Train Criminals
The Great Train Robbery In Perspective

Thirty-one people die, and 470 are injured following an horrendous train crash caused through negligence.

Thames Trains the operator whose turbo train passed through Signal 109 when the light was at red is condemned for failing to train its drivers properly.

Lord Cullen, head of an enquiry into the train disaster in the Paddington area of Ladbroke Grove, condemned Railtrack, and said that 'institutional paralysis' existed within the rail industry to deal with signals passed by trains when the red light is showing, which is known as SPADs.

His Lordship went on to say that the general picture of the control centre in Slough was, "Of a slack and complacent regime that was not alive to the potentially dire consequences of a SPADs to the way in which signallers could take action to deal with such situations."

When Warnings Are Ignored

During the enquiry it was revealed that Signal 109 had been passed 8 times in 6 years when the red light was showing. Three written warnings to Railtrack by Alison Forster, Operations and Safety director for operator Great Western, were all ignored.

Lord Cullen said, " There was lamentable failure on the part of Railtrack to respond to recommendations of inquiries following the disastrous rail crash at Royal Oak on the 10th of November, '95, and the serious SPAD at Signal 109 on 4th February '98.

Cullen referred to the comment made by a local Railtrack director who said, " The culture of the place had gone seriously adrift over many years."

The Lie Before The Disaster

Before the crash Gerald Corbett, Railtrack chief executive, told a committee of MP's that that Paddington was: "The best protected" station in the UK.

Colin Paton who was the senior guard on the ill-fated Great Western express train said, after the crash, "This was an avoidable accident."

Mr. Paton left the company last week. A spokesman for the company revealed that he had left because of ill health. He has been paid a 'substantial settlement'.

Passenger Wing Commander Richard Castle said, "I thought at the time I was uninjured, but then I looked at my hand and saw that the skin was black, and hanging off.

Today he still wears protective bandaging on his hand and his face bears the mark of the fireball that raged through his carriage.

Wing Commander Castle commented, " If a car driver goes through a red light he has his licence endorsed or taken off of him. If a pilot takes a wrong turning he is suspended and it is very difficult for him to get back into the air."

There Could Have Been 56 Paddington Disasters

"In the past month 56 red lights have been jumped by trains. This means there could have been 56 Ladbroke Groves, Paddington."

There have been no sign of any attempted suicide among the injured passengers, whether they were burned or not. I would say that everyone among the 20 with serious burns, the 225 who went to hospital and 230 who walked away, have had their lives altered for ever," added the Wing Commander.

If that is not bad enough the former Railtrack boss, Gerald Corbett the man who presided over the Ladbroke Grove and Hatfield disasters has been paid 1.3 million. He received 440,000 as 'compensation' for loss of office when he quit following the dreadful Ladbroke Grove tragedy. He received a further 912,992 as an enhanced pension entitlement.

Worthless Woolworth's Directors

Then as if to pour oil on troubled waters the 'brains trust' of director's at Woolworth, the giant High Street stores group, invited Corbett to become chairman of their group at an annual salary of 400,000.

Needless to say Corbett accepted. Incompetent he might be, a fool he is not!

'Brains trust? There are, probably, people in Broadmoor with more commonsense and with more feeling for people devastated by a terrible tragedy.

Can you believe it? Woolworth's, a High Street chain of stores where since childhood we have spent money in and, which is totally dependent upon the custom of ordinary folk, the sort of people that are obliged to depend upon public transport, have contemptuously appointed as the chairman of the company a man who while he was in charge of Railtrack sidelined safety and 31 people died, the lives of so many people were 'altered for ever', and left their loved ones devastated due to a train crash caused by neglect.

The directors of Woolworth have cause to be thoroughly ashamed of them selves. They have acted with sickening indecency, and should resign en masse.

If there is an organised boycott of Woolworth stores while Gerald Corbett is chairman then they have only themselves to blame.

I hope that the families of the people who have been so tragically harmed by the Ladbroke Grove disaster issue legal proceedings, and that a jury decides that if Gerald Corbett is deserving of a 1.3 million pay-off then each, and everyone, of the people who were victims in this horrific crash is also deserving of at least 1.3 million.

The Shadow Of Blooded Hands

Is there anyone who would deny that Gerald Corbett and his fawning acolytes have the shadow of blood on their hands?

Nearly forty years ago a group of men robbed a train of money, albeit of a couple of million pounds, an extremely foolish train driver received one blow to the head, went to work the very next day but was advised, not by medical opinion, to retire and live on an agreed generous settlement, plus a pension.

Seven years later this man died of leukaemia.

The Great Train Robbers received 30 years jail sentences. One of the people in attendance at the robbery, Ronnie Biggs escaped to Brazil and kept out of trouble.

Despite great appreciation and affection for his adopted country of Brazil, when doctors told Ronnie Biggs he was dying he wanted to come home to his place of birth, and a country he still loved.

Top Brass Arrest Train Robber 38 Years Later

On his arrival at Heathrow Airport, a sick and frail man, the police who are forever excusing their incompetence due to lack of human resources sent a Chief Superintendent, and aides, to arrest Ronnie Biggs.

Any neighbourhood police constable could have made the arrest using either a wheel chair for Ronnie, or a panda car.

Where do those who preach to the rest of the world the meaning of the word humanity and Human Rights keep an ailing Ronnie Biggs, who is unable shave himself? Why in no less an institution than the top security prison in the country, Belmarsh Jail!

Very recently in an emergency decline in health, following a relapse, Ronnie Biggs had to be rushed from Belmarsh prison to a properly equipped hospital. Despite his condition requiring 24-hours-a-day monitoring, with high-risk haste he was quickly returned to the top security Belmarsh.

Anyone with a grain of decency would know that the place for a dying man is in a hospital, not a prison infirmary.

Who Are The Worse Criminals?

If you try to equate the appalling behaviour of those Railtrack executives who through callous negligence are responsible for the calamitous rail crash at Ladbroke Grove, Paddington that resulted in the death of 31 innocent people and 475 injured, with the offence of The Great Train Robbers who caused minimal human suffering, when stealing money from a train, albeit a very large amount of money on the way to an incinerator, it begs the question which is the greater crime, and whom do you consider the worse criminals?

Is there any reasonable doubt as to the answer to either question?

Yet according to those responsible for justice in the mother of democracy, England The Great Train Robbers deserved, and were each sentenced to 30 years in jail while the leader of the Railtrack gang receives a 1.3 million pay-off.

With this example of English justice in action is it any wonder that the youngsters of this country, and people in many parts of the world, view those responsible for dispensing English justice with contempt.

No robber of money deserves 30 years in jail.

For those who are responsible for the deaths of 31 innocent people and 475 injured is it a rare example when punitive punishment is justified?

LATE NEWS

According to The Mirror newspaper Gerald Corbett has offered to resign as chairman of Woolworth's. Chairman Mulcahey of the Kingfisher group, the parent company of Woolworth's, the Kingfisher group is, however, reported to have turned down this sensible, and necessary, gesture. Is this, yet, another example of the lunatic running the asylum?

POSTSCRIPT

It has been confirmed that the Gerald Corbett has been appointed chairman of the High Street chain Woolworth's at a salary of 400,000 a year. Contrary to a report in the Daily Mirror that I relied upon, I have been reliably informed that Sir Georffrey Mulcahey, chief executive of Kingfisher, the parent company of Woolworth's, opposed the appointment of Corbett, but on the insistence of chairman Sir John Banham to appoint Corbett, Mulcahey caved in. It is a sickening insult to the victims of the Paddington rail tragedy.

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